Remember the days when nobody from Forest would talk to the press? Under the yolk of He Who Shall Not Be Named, no interviews were given unless you were a friendly BBC reporter, press conferences were weirdly recorded by an increasingly paranoid 'special advisor' and players were banned from talking. This went so far that a couple of players were rebuked for talking to a regional newsletter after attending a charity event.
Now though, it seems you can't shut Fawaz al-Hasawi up, and it would be churlish to object to this level of openness when the previous Stasi-esque state was more objectionable. Particularly since In The Top One was there to hear his latest thoughts on the state of the Nottingham Forest nation, alongside club ambassador and all-round terrific egg John McGovern. Here's (some of) what he talked about...
Fawaz on...Dougie Freedman's contract...
Freedman’s contract is "for three months and then we decide in May. He wanted it to be like this. It seems like he is doing a good job and I wish him all the best. I would like him to stay and I would like to see a good result for Forest; this is the most important thing for me. I hope that he (Freedman) will stay ten years. I don’t want him to leave if he is doing well. His attitude was, ‘let me show you what I can do.’"
At this point McGovern chipped in: "He’s literally not asking for anything else between now and the end of the season. He was available and he was here and his ability to agree a contract so quickly was a fantastic attitude and that impressed us."
Fawaz on...Dougie Freedman's management...
"He did well with Crystal Palace and also at Bolton," Fawaz said, but he sympathised with the problems he had at Bolton, citing "owners who decided to sell some players so it was difficult for him."
"Our club knows him very well and he was driven to become the manager of this club. I need somebody who is like this: hungry, wants to prove himself and young. There are 16 games to go every one a cup final. It’s not going to be easy to make it to the playoffs. If you ask me if there is a chance, I would say that there is still a big chance to be in the top six and this is our aim. I want to be the top of the league or number one, not middle of the table."
Fawaz on...Stuart Pearce
"We had a good start to the season. We don’t have anything against each other. We still talk to each other and there is a good relationship between me and Stuart. I wish him all the best and told him to stick around as a consultant or an adviser because he cares about the club. We need someone like him to stick around… (Pearce) decided not to take this job now, maybe later on. Maybe in the future. "
"I am not blaming Stuart or anyone but let me tell you something. Stuart Pearce is the one who picked Britt Assombalonga. He is the one who picked Antonio. For Assombalonga, we paid £5.3 million and Antonio £3 million. We bought Mancienne, Tesche. All these players. The wages are too high. I’m not the one who put these wages. There was a chief executive who was there and a manager who was picking the players. They have to understand that they don’t go above. So we bought many players on £25,000 and we paid too much for them. But if you want to go to the Premier League, you have to spend money or you have to wait for the young bloods to grow up."
He reminds us that he turned down offers for Antonio and were he to sell, he could cover expenses for next season. "We cannot sign a player for above £10,000 a week. If we sell, we can bring in more players."
Fawaz on...the youth
"When I spoke with Gary Brazil, I stressed that the most important thing is the Academy and young players. This is the future."
"Maybe some people think that for Fawaz Al Hasawi, everyday is a new manager but I just want to ask one question: of all the divisions, who will wait 24 games with only three wins? Everyone would want to change. Maybe they don’t know about the money we spent this season. I don’t want to be mid table, I want to be top of the league. I want to be number one, but not in the middle.
That tweet? Does he want to stay here for a long time? "That tweet was a mistake...I want to make the fans happy."
Is he still enjoying it? "I am enjoying it. I have worked before in football but here is different and I am carrying something very heavy, in a competitive division. I am still learning and I will learn from my mistakes."